Curriculum Plans: First Grade

What’s on the docket?

{Yes, yes, Vivienne is only just 5, and other children her age are heading off to Kindergarten this year. But we’re plowing ahead into first grade. I know. True educators are mortified. But we do have good reasons, I promise! I realize that I’ve never explained this to the skeptics or the genuinely concerned educators! Here’s why we feel comfortable calling this “first grade”: I’m convinced that God led us to begin her education a year early, and gave us peace to call it “Kindergarten” even though we otherwise actually support the concept of  helping a child to soar academically, while taking good old sweet time to advance through the “grade levels”.  So, although our decision contradicts our educational theories, obedience to the Lord’s leading just seems more important. We cannot begin to know why this may be important for her in the future, but we feel certain that it will be. And, so, we tackled Kindergarten-level work with gusto last year and are moving smoothly into 1st-grade-level work this year, that’s all.}

And so, glorious first grade it is!

Bible: Mighty Acts of God

Five in a Row: If curricula were love letters, FIAR would be the one I’d keep under my pillow. These week-long units are based upon beautiful picture books, and they cover all areas of study. Both of our daughters can engage at different levels. We paint, sculpt, eat, graph, map, cry, pray, and sing our way through lovely-book, after lovely-book.

The Phonics Museum: Grade 1 (We LOVED the K program. But be warned: it’s totally classical education and comes with a big thick workbook.  For all of our hands-on, face-in-the-wind learning we do, we also love a couple of good workbook pages every day. Yes, I actually wrote that: we love workbook pages. And The Phonics Museum has lovely ones.)

First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind

Saxon Math

Usborne First Book of Science,

The Little Hands Nature Book,

The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature, and

Kid Concoctions, Creations & Contraptions.

(Don’t you want to be in-the-know when we dissect a frog or blow up the kitchen with baking soda? Subscribe today!)




13 responses to “Curriculum Plans: First Grade”

  1. Amy Avatar

    Looks good! I enjoy seeing what others are using. I’ve noticed a lot of homeschoolers are using First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind.

  2. Christina Avatar

    hello Laura…i’m de-lurking myself here to let you know that i too am LOVING your Vlogs!! love ’em! And have been checking in here as often as you’ve been posting! Not too sure how i came by you…probably thru Like a Warm Cup of Coffee…love both of your places!!
    anyhow, just wanted to let you know that your tid-bits on info re: homeschooling prep are inspirational/extremely helpful…for this newbie!
    I am starting my first year here with my girls (2.5 and 4.5) and am looking forward to it!!
    Anyhow…just wanted to give you this link <>…and as UN-tech-savvy as I am, i ‘think’ it should drect you to the science section of the Usborne catalogue…?? fingers crossed;)
    so, thanks so much for opening up a window of your life for us to get a glimpse…blessings to you and your family as this new year of school begins!!

  3. Amy Avatar

    Just watched the vlog, which I enjoyed (your house is beautiful) I always wondered why Five in a Row was called that, thanks for clearing that up for me : )

  4. admin Avatar

    Christina – ‘nice to meet you! Thanks for introducing yourself. I’m sure we have a lot in common with our girls’ ages and all… we’ll have to keep each other posted with great ideas, okay? 😉

  5. Pioneer Beauty Avatar

    I was blog hopping and landed on your lily blog…what an adorable place you have and I enjoyed watching your reading…I have always been an animated reader with my children and others..I use to work and help raise other peoples children ( I was a live in Nanny for several different families ) as well I worked at summer camps as a when the Lord so graciously blessed me with a family I was tremendously blessed..I didn’t have plans nor thoughts to stay at home ( I wanted to be a Kinder. Teacher..but the Lord thankfully had another plan..I look forward to visiting with you again…Oh now I remember how I got here..The homemaker linkup…loosing track where I’m driving in this blog mobile of mine..( my laptop)
    I hope you stop by for a visit as well…
    Blessings to you and yours
    In Christ

  6. Renee Avatar

    Rachel was watching your latest vlog and said, “Wow! She’s good at talkin’!”

  7. Sarah Mae Avatar

    I am SO glad you are a year ahead so I can glean from what you’re doing! Keep up the vlogs – they are great! 🙂

  8. Sarah Mae Avatar

    Question – Ella is doing the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Is the phonics museum a good compliment to that? It didn’t have a very good description on the website, so I’m curious how it fits.

  9. admin Avatar

    Sarah – The Phonics Museum would be a fine compliment, though you’d probably discover that you’d only need one or the other. Since you are already planning on using 100 Easy Lessons, you could do that this year and select a more phonics-specific program next year. That’s what we did; and I think we are establishing a strong foundation for reading. When you’re in town, give me a call and you can look through the Phonics Museum to determine whether or not it’s what you’re looking for. ??

  10. Jolanthe Avatar

    We love First Language Lessons here too ~ enough that I made poem printables for when we are memorizing the poems. 🙂 I have them posted on my blog if you are interested. 🙂

    Have a FUN year!!!

  11. Jennifer Avatar

    Laura, are you just using the workbook for Phonics Museum or are you using the primers as well?

    1. Laura Avatar

      Yes! We use the primers and Vivienne LOVES them. However, I’ve read comments online of many people who don’t prefer the primers because of their difficulty, content, or writing style. Vivienne is a unique child and begs to read them because they are actually meaty (she most recently was in love with a story about a Christian girl who served people during the Black Plague.)

      I just told my mom this weekend that I might not use the same readers for my second daughter, depending upon her interest in the content. But, they’ve worked beautifully for Viv.

      Concerning the writing style: it can be awkward, but it has allowed for me to explain many, many things as we read and has expanded Vivienne’s vocabulary and poetic abilities.

      What I won’t use the second time around is the same form of hand-writing. I’ll still use the worksheets, but will teach Lia the Zaner-Bloser method of handwriting, which is much more versatile with other educational materials.

      Ya know, I think I’ll write a post about this curriculum sometime soon. Thanks for the question…

  12. Jennifer Avatar

    I’d love it if you would… I picked up the 1st grade workbook for my son and we started it this afternoon. Yeah, not a big fan of D’Nealian, but he kind of likes to write with little tails, so we’ll see. As long as he writes neatly and starts his letters at the top, I’m happy.

    I was worried that the primers were absolutely necessary in order to fully utilize the curriculum. But I think for our needs, the workbook will be sufficient. My son (being a boy… here’s a tip for you 🙂 can’t sit still very long. He’d love for ME to read the meaty primers, but he would lose patience pretty quickly I think. We’re going to stick with our BOB books for now and use the workbook for some of the more advanced phonics.

    I should probably write about this on my blog. Wading through all this stuff is invigorating and infuriating and wonderful and a bit stressful… but its all good. Homeschooling is basically awesome and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Thanks so much for your blog. You have no idea how much inspiration you have brought to my life and my home. My kids and I were singing “Obedience Is” and “Honor Is” on the way to pick up my husband from work tonight. 🙂 God bless you and your beautiful family.

Let's keep in touch!
You're invited to sign up for
the Expect Something Beautiful newsletter.